Initiated in 2015 in the context of the previous strategic plan, the development of specialty products has been confirmed as a core feature of Avril’s success. In other words, the aim is to shift from a volume-based strategy to a value-based strategy that will provide the Group with the leeway it needs to grow. As the spearhead of this transformation, the Avril Specialties Business Line is pursuing its growth in oleochemicals and animal specialties, two activities that are driven by innovation, an international presence and customer proximity.
At the cutting edge of oleochemical technology
Oleon, which has just celebrated ten years as a member of the Group, is pursuing its specialty strategy in global markets such as cosmetics, lubricants, coatings or foods. In 2018, this important actor in renewable chemistry opened a new unit for the production of isostearic acid and dimers in Ertvelde (Belgium), specialties manufactured using a raw material from our sector: high-oleic sunflower oil. This new proprietary technology, which can offer customers highly specific and top quality applications, should confirm Oleon’s leadership in this market segment. As a driver in terms of CSR, it should also be noted that for the second year running Oleon received an EcoVadis Gold rating for its efforts, notably in the areas of the environment and sustainable purchasing, this score placing it amongst the top 1% companies of its sector rated by this international agency.
Innovative solutions for sustainable livestock farming
With the ambition of becoming a recognized actor in the management and optimization of the performance of livestock farms, in 2018 Avril Animal Specialties (AAS) passed the symbolic threshold of achieving 50% of its turnover internationally, with an increasing share of its innovation pipeline being dedicated to the sustainable health management of livestock units. In terms of biosecurity (preventive hygiene) Avril now ranks first in Europe in the pig-poultry sector, and its nutritional solutions to replace medications are attracting increasing interest. AAS is reinforcing its efforts in all its priority growth areas and notably digestive health, prebiotics and probiotics with Nolivade, limiting ruminant waste, and aquaculture which represents considerable potential for growth.
New activities and markets for Avril Vegetal
Among many other projects, 2018 saw the birth of Oleo100 (see below), the first 100% plant-based, renewable and traceable fuel, 100% made in France. Oleo100 can totally replace fossil diesel. Through the acquisition of Lecico, a German company specialized in lecithins and phospholipids, the Group is pursuing the growth of its activities in the sector and has become the leading actor in non-GM lecithin in the European market. Lecico has thus joined Expur, Kerfoot, Lesieur, Novastell and Saipol within Avril’s Oil & Ingredient Solutions, a platform specialized in refined and specialty oils and ingredients, which already offers a vast portfolio of products to industrial customers.
Upgrading the image of our brands
Another part of the Group’s strategy is to recreate value around B2C brands, notably in the oils market. Avril is reviewing the marketing mix of its own brands in line with its mission. Relaunched in 2018, Lesieur’s ISIO 4 oil has reinforced its health benefits through an optimized formula and contains 95% French grain oil. In 2019, it will be the turn of the olive oil brand Puget to accentuate its membership of the Avril Group as being a competitive advantage that is wholly in phase with consumer demands, offering a Puget oil of 100% French origin, alongside its variants in the Mediterranean basin: 100% Moroccan and 100% Greek. For its condiments and sauces, Lesieur is highly export-driven, based on the concept of French gastronomy; the markets it is targeting as a priority are China (market testing is ongoing in Shanghai), the Middle East and North America.
The highlight of 2018 was acquisition of the Italian brand Costa d’Oro this has propelled Avril to third place globally in the branded olive oil market and the aim is to develop the olive oil category according to a sectoral structure, the hallmark of Avril.